Saturday, May 15, 2010
Ten Important Questions to Ask When Looking For a Church
When people begin to look for a church they often make a list of things that are important to them. Perhaps it is a good Sunday School, or a clean nursery or adequate parking or a certain style of music in the worship service. While those issues are valid concerns, they are actually secondary issues. Instead of focusing on those types of things, people looking for a church should ask themselves ten important questions to guide them in their search.
1. Is this a church where God's Word is faithfully taught? Some teachers start their message with the Bible, but it's only a jumping-off point to share their own opinions. Good churches build a message on the teaching of a particular passage of Scripture. The driving principle of good churches is that God's Word has the authority, not man's opinions or church traditions.
2. Is this a church where sound doctrine matters? Doctrine simply means what the Bible teaches about any given subject. A church in which doctrine matters is one that values biblical truth, knows what it believes, and is guided by these beliefs in the way it functions.
3. Is this a church in which the gospel is cherished and clearly proclaimed? The gospel is the Good News of Jesus Christ's perfect life, sacrificial death for sinners, and glorious resurrection and ascension.
4. Is this a church committed to reaching non-Christians with the gospel? Without an emphasis on evangelism, a church becomes selfish and ingrown.
5. Is this a church whose leaders are characterized by humility and integrity? No amount of skill, leadership ability, or communication skills can replace godly character.
6. Is this a church where people strive to live by God's word? Look for a church that is seeking not only to believe rightly, but also to live rightly.
7. Is this a church where we can find and cultivate godly relationships? We all need relationships where we can receive encouragement, accountability, and care.
8. Is this a church where members are challenged to serve? Look for a church that equips its members to serve and minister, and then challenges them to do so. Caution: some people want to serve in very self-centered ways and if this opportunity is not available, they leave in a huff. This is not true service.
9. Is this a church that is willing to kick us out? When a person who claims to be a Christian lives in a way that blatantly contradicts all that it means to be a disciple of Christ, a faithful church's responsibility is to begin the process of removing that person from membership in the hope that he or she will repent and be restored.
10. Is this a church we are willing to join "as is"? We should not join a church because we think God has called us to "fix" it! Humbly recognize that we have our own issues to deal with and that we won't succeed anywhere as a self-appointed leader.
Compiled by Dr. Terry Dorsett from pages 83-96 of Stop Dating the Church and Fall in Love with the Family of God by Joshua Harris.